Malka Leifer, a former Australian school principal who is wanted in Australia on suspicion of sexually abusing students, walks in the corridor of the Jerusalem District Court accompanied by Israeli Prison Service guards, in Jerusalem February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
An appeal by alleged child sex-offender Malka Leifer for release to house arrest during extradition proceedings was rejected on Sunday by the Jerusalem District Court, with the judge ordering that she remain in prison until the end of the proceedings.
Leifer is accused by the Australian authorities of 74 charges of sexual abuse against at least eight pupils, who were minors at the time, at the Adass Israel School in Melbourne where she served as a teacher and principal from 2003 to 2008.
The Supreme Court had already ruled in March that Leifer remain in prison, but her defense team sought to call into question the evidence used against her in the Jerusalem District Court on Sunday.
The judge, however, rejected the claims of her defense team, although she is able to appeal within the next two weeks.
The next extradition hearing is July 15.
Leifer fled to Israel in 2008 to avoid criminal proceedings, but extradition proceedings only began in 2014.
Leifer has managed to avoid extradition, however, by claiming mental illness ever since – claims that until earlier this year were upheld by a medical review panel dealing with her case.
An undercover police investigation in 2017 and 2018, prompted by the Jewish Community Watch organization, led to Leifer’s arrest on suspicion that she had been feigning mental illness to avoid extradition to Australia.